Azzurri, Switzerland is now in the round of 16. Saturday on the pitch in Berlin

This is the first of the round of 16 in chronological order, it will be played on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Berlin. Italy crosses paths with Switzerland, second in Group A. But for a few minutes, even a few seconds, the Azzurri risked having to face Germany, the host: without this Fullkrug shot in the 92nd minute, the Germans would not would not have drawn. 1-1 and the Swiss would have found themselves first in the group. A “sliding door” on which the Azzurri will have to capitalize. Even though Germany was very timid against Switzerland, it's not great to have to meet the home team in the round of 16. Not that the team led by Murat Yakin, a 50-year-old from Basel (of Turkish origin), is an easy puzzle to solve. The coach, who succeeded Petkovic in 2021, reached the round of 16 during the recent World Cup in Qatar (KO against Portugal 6-1).

In the squad, the Swiss are led by goalkeeper Yann Sommer, just winner of the Scudetto at Inter, a player with enormous experience. In defense we find Ricardo Rodriguez (Turin) and former Udinese player Widmer (now at Mainz), as well as Akanji from Manchester City and Schaer from Newcastle. The beacon in midfield is Granit Xhaka (Bayer Leverkusen). With him the “Bolognese” Freuler and Aebischer, as well as Shaqiri (now in MLS), a talent who never fully expressed himself with a quick and colorless move to Inter during his career. In attack another “Bolognese”, Ndoye (the scorer of the goal against Germany), but above all the highly rated Breel Embolo (Monaco). Another Italian acquaintance is AC Milan player Okafor.

There have been 61 precedents between the two national teams, clearly in favor of the Azzurri: 29 wins, 24 draws, only 8 defeats. But the Swiss have been the protagonists of some bitter pages for Italy, regarding the World Cup. There is the 2-1 and the following 4-1 from June 1954, during the edition organized in Switzerland: in group 4, the two teams finished tied for second with 2 points (which the Swiss won against us ), then the playoffs which eliminated the team led on the bench by the Hungarian Czeizler; much more recently (Yakin was already on the bench), in the group for qualification in Qatar the double draw (0-0 and 1-1, in both cases with a missed penalty by Jorginho…) which sent directly the Swiss at the World Cup and Italy in the playoffs then disastrously lost to Macedonia.

But there is also a happy precedent and… on the subject. Euro2020, Group A, Olympic Stadium: Italy-Switzerland 3-0. What happened next is known to history.

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